It’s not always easy to get kids to exercise. Especially when you are competing with such things as video games, television and toys that require far less energy. And with all of the distractions our modern world brings, it’s not only a challenge to find the time to fit it in, it’s a challenge to actually make it a priority.
If your kids are in sports, it’s a lot easier for them to get the necessary physical activity for them to be as healthy as possible, but even then they aren’t always active every day. So how do you encourage and motivate them to get up, get out and get moving? Kids don’t understand why fitness is important, so it is our jobs as parents to not only educate them about what will help them live a healthier, longer life, but also find ways to make physical activity a natural part of their lives instead of something forced and undesirable.
I want my kids to understand the benefits of being physically active and I want them to enjoy the process. Because a fit, active body means a better chance of living a healthy, long life!
The American Heart Association recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity every day for kids. There are no rules for what kinds of activity, simply that they are physically active for at least an hour a day.
Walking, biking, skating, running, basketball, soccer, hockey, football, cycling, dance, martial arts, or even just a game of tag. It all qualifies as physical activity! It will help your kids maintain a healthy weight, sleep better, feel better and help build their immune systems.
After this 60 minute recommendation, American Heart Association doesn’t leave you hanging. In fact, their website is full of information, tips and resources for healthy kids and their “Activities for Kids” section is particularly helpful with providing ideas for how to get kids active and even offers articles aimed directly at kids. I love their Healthy Challenge Scavenger Hunt – I’m thinking of somehow turning that into a game where they end up actually cleaning my house in the process! I also have found that their Tips to Keep in Mind for Physical Activity have really helped guide how I approach the whole idea of fitness with my kids.
The American Heart Association suggests that making physical activity fun for kids is the key to getting them to embrace it as part of their lives. Especially if it is something that emulates the adults in their lives or includes the adults in their lives. Unless they are teenagers, then you need to do the opposite of what you want them to do. But even my tween enjoys doing the things I do and he especially enjoys doing things with me. He’s not too cool yet to be seen enjoying spending time with his mom. So I want to cherish those moments and get as many of them in as I can before that changes!
Lately I’ve taken up yoga and my kids have expressed an interest in it, but they also told me that it “looked kinda boring” and were torn about committing to doing it with me. The American Heart Association actually has some great tips for “Mommy and Me Yoga” and so I decided to expand upon that idea and make a game out of a yoga session. It doesn’t require knowledge of any particular poses but offers the same physical benefits.
I call it Animal Pose Yoga for Kids and honestly I think its much more fun than regular yoga, even when I’m doing it by myself. For a printable version click the image below. (If you don’t want to print so much black, to save ink you can print the white background version.)
This is just one example of how the American Heart Association is helping to inspire us in our efforts to live healthier, longer lives. They have so many great resources including information about healthy eating, weight management, stress management and more. I had no idea the American Heart Association had so many resources for families, did you?
While fitness and physical activity make up a significant part of our overall health, we also need to focus on our diet. The food we consume has a significant impact in our overall well-being. Combing the tips and recommendations above with one of our homemade low carb recipes.